Cognitive Engineering

Cognitive Engineering

www.alephinsights.com
Welcome to the Cognitive Engineering podcast. Occ…


Should we Listen to Celebrities?
Jul 1 • 33 min
Does fame and an ability to pretend to be someone else qualify you to be an expert on other matters? Image: Kurt Kulac via Wikimedia Commons Things mentioned in this podcast: - Hugh Grant’s views on the government’s reaction to COVID-19…
Rewriting History
Jun 24 • 28 min
According to the adage, you can’t change the past, but can you or should you change the record of the past? Things mentioned in this podcast: - Dominic Cummings changed his blog https://fullfact.org/health/cummings-blog-coronavirus/ - Historical…
Dust
Jun 18 • 27 min
It gets everywhere - but what is it and where does it come from? Image: by Pattadis Walarput via Pixabay. Things mentioned in this podcast: - Where does all this dust come from? https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091028114023.htm - Sand crisis…
Technologies That Never Quite Catch On
Jun 12 • 33 min
Why is that some technologies are perennially about to transform our lives, but never really take off. Do they have something in common? Image: Antonio Zugaldia via Wikicommons. Things mentioned in this podcast: - When corporate innovation goes bad…
Mistrust
Jun 5 • 29 min
Should we be suspicious of successful people? Is high performance related to dishonesty? Image: justlego1O1 via Flickr Things mentioned in this podcast: - My Mother Thinks Bill Gates is Trying to Kill Us All…
Mob mentality
May 29 • 26 min
Is there a wisdom in crowds, or are we all heading over the cliff like lemmings? Image: Sérgio Valle Duarte via Wikicommons Things mentioned in this podcast: - The Great Battle of Fire and Light, Wait But Why https://waitbutwhy.com/2019/08/fire-light.html…
Power shifts
May 22 • 30 min
Does the way different nations have responded to the Covid-19 pandemic tell us anything about the international balance of power? Image: priyampatel4 via pixabay Things mentioned in this podcast: - Correlates of War dataset…
Cultures of Debate
May 15 • 23 min
Heated argument or reasoned discussion? Is there an optimal way to frame debate? Image: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor Things mentioned in this podcast: - Agreeableness and outcomes https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3845351/ - Marital conflict…
What makes a good excuse?
May 8 • 28 min
Explaining the situation or avoiding your responsibilities - are excuses valid and is there an art to them? Image: Kārlis Dambrāns via Wikicommons Things mentioned in this podcast: - ‘Sorry about the speeding, I was having sex’…
Apocalypse Yet?
May 1 • 26 min
How would we know if the world was ending? Image: Daniel Case via Wikicommons Things mentioned in this podcast: - Ministerial reassurance over food supplies? https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-51775980 - A Journey to the End of Time…
Good things coming from bad things
Apr 24 • 29 min
Are there any positives to emerge from the global pandemic? How can we make the most of a bad situation? Image: jamiemusialek via pixabay Things mentioned in this podcast: - The upside of Tube strikes: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/pubs/download/cp455.pdf For more…
The Best Thing since Junction-Field Effect Transistors
Apr 17 • 26 min
Penicillin, the printing press, and cheese and onion crisps - What makes an invention well known rather than merely successful? Image: anaterate via Pixabay Things mentioned in this podcast: - ‘TRIZ’ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TRIZ - BBC poll on the…
Health Data
Apr 10 • 38 min
Fraser, Nick and Peter discuss health data and measuring medical outcomes with special guest Neil Bacon. Image: IWM via Wikicommons Things mentioned in this podcast: - Neil Bacon’s web page https://neilbacon.wordpress.com/ - Doctor’s Net UK…
Fame. What’s the point?
Apr 3 • 35 min
Here lies Matt Goss: look on his works, ye mighty, and despair. Image: Christian Lanegger via Flickr Things mentioned in this podcast: - Tim Ferris - reasons to not become famous https://tim.blog/2020/02/02/reasons-to-not-become-famous/ - ‘One in four…
Old Squares
Mar 27 • 23 min
Does experience make us wiser or simply more boring? Three middle aged men will tackle the question with a total lack of bias. Image: Republican Party via Wikicommons Things mentioned in this podcast: - ‘Young people tend to be more liberal than older…
Moderation v Excess
Mar 20 • 25 min
Small doses, or all or nothing - what is the best way to live life? Image: Moine buvant du vin dans une cave. Artist: Unknown via Wikicommons Things mentioned in this podcast: - ‘Moderation is the Key to Life’…
What are Extremism and Terrorism?
Mar 13 • 31 min
Was it useful to label Extinction Rebellion as a terrorist organisation? How is terrorism different from extreemism? Image: Extinction Rebellion via Wikicommons Things mentioned in this podcast: - Extinction Rebellion are included in a list of extremist…
Psychological Resilience
Mar 6 • 39 min
We ask whether mental toughness is all in the mind. Image: Mark Jones via Wikicommons Things mentioned in this podcast: - Harry and Meghan’s statement https://sussexroyal.com/about/ - Susie Ballentyne’s research page at the University of Sussex…
Knives are dangerous, so why do we use them?
Feb 28 • 23 min
Edged tools have been used by hominids for millions of years, but the elastoplast was only invented just over 100 years ago. Did we get our priorities right? Image: DMC-FZ18 via Pixhere Things mentioned in this podcast: - Sudesh Amman attack…
Charity
Feb 21 • 26 min
Emotion, recency and virtue signalling - does it matter what drives charitable behaviour? Image: Cimon and Pero: “Roman Charity” by Jean-Baptiste Greuze via Wikicommons Things mentioned in this podcast: - Amelia Roberts’ charity appeal…
Does revenge work and how do you de-escalate?
Feb 15 • 28 min
A dish best served cold, or not at all? We discuss revenge as a strategy. Image: Anadolu Agency via Getty Images Things mentioned in this podcast: - The ProRevenge subreddit https://www.reddit.com/r/ProRevenge/ - William Miller, In Defense of Revenge…
Death Of Serendipity
Jan 19 • 26 min
Does our always on, instantly connected world mean that we’ve lost the job of serendipity? Can we engineer our environment to maximise the chance of good things happening to us? Image: The Three Princes of Serendip Things mentioned in this podcast: - Red…
Does inequality actually matter?
Jan 10 • 28 min
Does inequality actually matter? If it does, why? What problems does it cause? Is it self fulfilling? Is our objection to it a moral one, or is there there rational economic issues with it? Image: Wellcome Collection ref ICV No 12015 V0011749 Things…
Cats vs Dogs - Which is better?
Jan 5 • 28 min
Are you a cat or a dog person? Which is best? Image: nguyen hoangnam via Flickr Things mentioned in this podcast: - Moral Foundations Theory https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_foundations_theory - PDSA Animal Wellbeing Report…
In the Torrid Midsummer
Dec 21, 2019 • 26 min
What’s it like to celebrate Christmas in the southern hemisphere? Are there things about Christmas that don’t make sense in summer? Image: Milz via pixels.com Things mentioned in this podcast: - Was Jesus born on 25 December?…
Out Of Touch
Dec 16, 2019 • 30 min
What does it mean to be out of touch? Why do we expect our leaders to be in tune with everyday people and their concerns? Image: Ewan Munro via Wikimedia.org Things mentioned in this podcast: - Influence of class on attitudes…
Boo to a Goose
Dec 6, 2019 • 25 min
Is it wrong to do amoral things in computer games? Is it ok to bully people as a goose in Untitled Goose Game? Image: House House Things mentioned in this podcast: - Untitled Goose Game https://goose.game/ - Ethics in the Virtual World by Garry Young…
Different Animals Different Languages
Nov 29, 2019 • 28 min
Why do animal sounds vary between languages? Image: Alex Andrews via Pexels.com Things mentioned in this podcast: - Onomatopoeia in different languages https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cross-linguistic_onomatopoeias - Idiophones…
Viral Responsibility
Nov 22, 2019 • 24 min
Assuming we can’t blame a virus for its own evolutionary success, just whose fault is it when we catch something? Image: Robert E. Bates, USCDCP via pixnio.com Things mentioned in this podcast: - Data on childhood vaccination in England…
Seven Ages: First Puking and Mewling…
Nov 15, 2019 • 29 min
Can you be forever young or wise beyond your years? Is age a justifiable way of categorising people? Image: William Mulready RA via Wikipedia Things mentioned in this podcast: - Shakespeare’s ‘Seven Ages of Man’…
Neoteric Vocabulation
Nov 10, 2019 • 32 min
Peter, Nick and Fraser mansplain the adoption of new vocabulary for any wordies out there - totes adorbs. Image: artyangel via pixabay.com Things mentioned in this podcast: - Plotkin paper on information theory and language evolution…
You’ll Have your Eye Out
Nov 1, 2019 • 24 min
Should we spend time worrying about the risk of freak accidents? Image: Theo Campbell and Kaz Crossley by Theo Campbell Things mentioned in this podcast: - Theo Campbell’s accident https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-49483153 - National…
Harmful Prayers
Oct 26, 2019 • 26 min
Can the call for divine intervention be a cause of harm? God only knows. Image: wlox.com Things mentioned in this podcast: - Willingness to pay for prayers https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2019/09/10/1908268116 - Hate crime advice…
How American is American Football?
Oct 21, 2019 • 28 min
Cowboys, 49ers and Patriots - can we determine anything about a culture based on the sports it plays? Image: KeithJJ via pixabay Things mentioned in this podcast: - Geert Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions…
Energising the Base
Oct 11, 2019 • 33 min
Do fiery rhetoric and extreme policies help win elections? Image: Bundesarchiv via Wikipedia Things mentioned in this podcast: - Kaldor-Hicks criterion https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaldor%E2%80%93Hicks_efficiency - ‘That which is seen, and that which is…
Learning from History
Oct 5, 2019 • 37 min
“If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must Man be of learning from experience.” Was George Bernard Shaw right about the lessons of the past? Image: Public domain via Wikicommons Special Guest: Dr Kristian Gustafson…
Fragility
Sep 20, 2019 • 30 min
The internet provides a level of information resilience that mankind has never before possessed. But what happens if it breaks? Image: Tekniska museet via flickr Things mentioned in this podcast: - Getting deplatformed from Apple…
Ignoring Officials
Sep 13, 2019 • 27 min
Do not listen to this podcast. When is it permissible to ignore the voice of authority? Image: Danny Lawson via PA Images Things mentioned in this podcast: - Whaley Bridge residents who refuse to move…
Midges
Sep 6, 2019 • 23 min
They’re persistent, irritating and difficult to ignore. Yes, Frazer, Nick and Peter discuss midges. Image: CSIRO via Wikipedia Things mentioned in this podcast: - Midge facts https://www.lifesystems.co.uk/news/45-facts-about-the-highland-midge and…
Vague Requirements
Sep 2, 2019 • 28 min
Would it be wrong to take a set of instructional schematics to the barber? We discuss when vague requirements work, and importantly when they don’t. Image: J Pitts via Wikipedia Things mentioned in this podcast: - Goodhart’s Law…
Summer Re-release: Dated Films
Aug 16, 2019 • 24 min
While Aleph Insights is on a summer break from recording podcasts, here’s an episode from our archive. Why do some films age better than others? Image: www.starwars.com/news/the-5-most-…s-visual-effects
Summer Re-release: Optimised Fruit
Aug 10, 2019 • 23 min
While Aleph Insights is on a summer break from recording podcasts, here’s an episode from our archive. What does tastiness tell us about fruit choice? Could we engineer the perfect fruit? Or are we just comparing apples and oranges? Image: Malte Sörensen…
Summer Re-release: Personality Tests
Jul 31, 2019 • 31 min
While Aleph Insights is on a summer break from recording podcasts, here’s an episode from our archive. Are personality tests any use? What can they tell us if anything? Or is it like a star-sign? Take the test!…
Is it Still the Nineties?
Jul 19, 2019 • 30 min
Is it meaningful to assign personalities to the decades? Image: Ezekiel via Wikipedia Things mentioned in this podcast: - The thirty-year nostalgia cycle…
Happy Endings GoT SPOILER ALERT
Jul 12, 2019 • 29 min
GAME OF THRONES - SPOILER ALERT Was the ending contrived? Were you satisfied by the way it ended? What makes a good ending? Image: BagoGames via Flickr Things mentioned in this podcast: - ‘Creative Writing Now’ on endings…
Scaling Up to Oblivion
Jul 8, 2019 • 30 min
Why did Jamie’s Italian fail? What goes wrong when businesses try to scale. Image: Scandic Hotels via Wikicommons Things mentioned in this podcast: - Problems in the casual dining sector…
Chernobyl
Jun 28, 2019 • 35 min
How can we avoid the end of the world through nuclear and other cataclysmic accidents? Could Chernobyl happen again? How can we design our systems and train our people to prevent accidents? We discuss with our guest Tom Plant. Image: Kamil Porembiński via…
Rest in Peeves: The Death of Grumpy Cat
Jun 21, 2019 • 23 min
Grumpy Cat dies aged seven: ‘Some days are grumpier than others’. A loss the meme world. Memes, what are they? Do they have some property that makes them reproduce more effectively than other ideas. Image: Gage Skidmore via Flickr Things mentioned in this…
The Perfect Chalk
Jun 14, 2019 • 23 min
The Perfect Chalk Chalk has been used by humans as a communication tool for thousands of years. Are some technologies too good to be replaced? Image: contri via Flickr Things mentioned in this podcast: - 2015 article expounding the virtue of Hagoromo…
Influential v Popular
Jun 10, 2019 • 32 min
Does listening to The Grateful Dead make you yearn to meet your maker, or do you acknowledge the seminality of their music? Is the term ‘influential’ overused nowadays? Image: Warner Bros. Records via Wikimedia Things mentioned in this podcast - Article…
Stupidity and ignorance
Jun 4, 2019 • 29 min
Crystal Palace goalkeeper, Wayne Hennessey, provides an unintentional insight into the links between ignorance and stupidity. Image: Wayne Hennessey by Steindy via Wikimedia Things mentioned in this podcast: -Wayne Hennessey’s Nazi salute…
Wasting celery
May 24, 2019 • 27 min
Some things seem difficult to purchase in the right quantities. Why do we always end up with too much celery in our fridge? Image: Peter Griffin via publicdomainpictures.net Things mentioned in this podcast: WRAP report on food and drink waste…
Spotting liars
May 17, 2019 • 30 min
Following Gavin Williamson’s sacking from Theresa May’s cabinet, we discuss the indicators of whether or not someone is telling the truth. Image: Gavin Williamson. By UK Parliament via Wikipedia Things mentioned in this podcast - Rogers et al (2017),…
Can you Avoid Becoming a Victim of Irony?
May 10, 2019 • 23 min
David Cameron famously promised ‘stability and strong Government’ if he won the 2015 general election. How can we minimise our chances of our statements being undermined by subsequent events? Image: Great Temple at Abu Simbel by youssef_alam via Wikipedia…
Why do Good Things always Come to an End?
May 3, 2019 • 25 min
As London’s black cabs move inexorably towards extinction, we ponder whether the progress of civilisation is merely illusory. Image: JamesGardinerCollection via Flickr Things mentioned in this podcast -‘Meditations on Moloch’ from Slate Star Codex:…
Emotions and Decision-making
Apr 26, 2019 • 45 min
David Simoes-Brown, CEO of 100%Open, tells us why we should trust our feelings when it comes to important decisions. Image: The Anger of Achilles, by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo via Wikipedia Things mentioned in this podcast - David Simoes-Brown, CEO of…
When do you Become a Grown-up?
Apr 20, 2019 • 27 min
When do you grow up? Is there a cut off age to childhood or are we constantly growing up? Image: rawpixel.com Things mentioned in this podcast Commons’s Model of Hierarchical Complexity:…
Algorithmic Bias
Apr 12, 2019 • 39 min
What happens when algorithms learn to be biased? What does that even mean? We talk to special guest Dr Jess Whittlestone from the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence about whether algorithmic bias is something to worry about, and whether…
Transgender Women and Sports
Mar 29, 2019 • 24 min
Should transgender women be allowed to compete in women’s sports? Is it unfair on cis women if they do? Is it unfair on trans women if they can’t? Is there a coherent logic to the partitioning of sporting events? Image: by Michael Steele via Getty Images…
Modelling Other People
Mar 22, 2019 • 34 min
Understanding how other people are going to behave is a key element of analysis and forecasting. But professional actors do this all the time. We talk to special guest Edmund Kingsley to find out what insights the acting trade can offer for analysts.…
Tidiness
Mar 15, 2019 • 24 min
What’s the point of tidying up? It’s just moving stuff from one place to another. But does it offer cognitive and health benefits, and if so why? Image: My Bed by Tracey Emin. Photo: Karen Bryan via Flickr Things mentioned in this podcast Tidiness guru…
Americanisms
Mar 1, 2019 • 26 min
Is the slow creep of Americanisms into the British vernacular a pernicious assault on our linguistic heritage, or should we just chill? Things mentioned in this podcast Goncalves etc al (2018) on the Americanisation of English:…
Is Creativity Overrated?
Feb 22, 2019 • 28 min
Where would we be without the likes of Da Vinci, Turing and Goethe? Things mentioned in this podcast Jordan Peterson on the ‘curse of creativity’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ocDli45faiw Wallas’ ‘The Art of Thought’:…
Smells like… something
Feb 15, 2019 • 28 min
Smells like… something Why is smell the oft forgotten sense, and where does following our nose take us? Image: Barney Moss via Flickr Things mentioned in this podcast Wired article on why smells are hard to describe:…
Great people
Feb 8, 2019 • 27 min
Russia after Putin - is history shaped by great men and women, or are they just in the right place at the right time? Image: Пресс-служба Президента Российской Федерации via Wikipedia Things mentioned in this podcast Hoffman et al (2011) - a study of the…
Reality vs Fiction
Feb 1, 2019 • 28 min
Is reality killing fiction? Things mentioned in this podcast Scripted dramas are not dying out: https://variety.com/2018/tv/news/2017-scripted-tv-series-fx-john-landgraf-1202653856/ Ranker article on the ‘Dumbest Reality Shows of All Time’:…
Analogies
Jan 25, 2019 • 28 min
What makes a good analogy? Is Tyrion Lannister a good comparison for Michael Gove? Things mentioned in this podcast Michael Gove is like Tyrion Lannister:…
Rude Vs Polite
Jan 18, 2019 • 31 min
Is being polite better than being rude? Does civility really cost nothing and buy you everything? What are the costs of being polite? Image by Jean-Étienne Liotard via Wikipedia Things mentioned in this podcast: Links between agreeableness and outcomes:…
Brexit Preppers
Jan 11, 2019 • 24 min
Are Preppers mad? Or are they wise to get ready for Britain to crash out the EU? Should we stock up on beans and UHT? Image: Vaciando el supermercado via Wikimedia Commons
Dodgy Builders
Jan 4, 2019 • 26 min
Why do builders get such a bad rep? What makes us trust some trades people and not others?
Taking Stuff For Granted
Dec 28, 2018 • 23 min
What things do we take for granted? Will new riches make us happier? Image: Daderot via Wikipedia Things mentioned in this podcast Great Expectations by Dickens: https://www.gutenberg.org/files/1400/1400-h/1400-h.htm Brickman and Campbell (1971) on the…
When To Intervene
Dec 14, 2018 • 28 min
Were Dynasties camera crews right to rescue wild engines? Should we give iPhones to uncontracted peoples? What could possibly go wrong? Image: Christopher Michel via Wikipedia
Personality Tests
Dec 7, 2018 • 31 min
Are personality tests any use? What can they tell us if anything? Or is it like a star-sign? Take the test! https://www.16personalities.com/free-personality-test
Remembrance
Dec 2, 2018 • 23 min
What is Remembrance for? How long should it be observed? Image: Philip Stevens via Wikipedia
Polarisation
Nov 23, 2018 • 35 min
Are we more polarised than ever before? Things mentioned in this episode: - Recent Pew Research on polarisation: http://www.pewresearch.org/topics/political-polarization/2018/ - Jonathan Wheatley on voter clustering:…
Cyclists
Nov 18, 2018 • 20 min
Would you wear cycling shorts to the office? Image: fourway333 via flickr
Tinder lies
Nov 9, 2018 • 27 min
Lies damn lies and profiles! You’re going to exaggerate, that’s a given. So what’s the best strategy? Image: Carlo Chiostri via Wikimedia commons
Film Remakes
Nov 3, 2018 • 26 min
Why do we have so many remakes? Why are some movies remade and others are not? Why are some so bad? https://stephenfollows.com/ Image: Everett Collection
Future History
Oct 26, 2018 • 22 min
Why did it take 100 years to find the #49? In a world where everything is digitized, will we ever lose anything? If things don’t have a digital record, will they may as well not exist? Inverted Jenny: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inverted_Jenny Data…
Humorless Professionalism
Oct 19, 2018 • 25 min
Can you be both interesting while being professional? Will humor always offend someone? Signalling theory: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Signalling_(economics) Countersignalling: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Countersignaling Image: Chris McAndrew via…
Innovation in big firms
Oct 12, 2018 • 35 min
Can big firms be innovative? Peter, Nick and Fraser are joined by a special guest Roland Hardwood. Image: Carsten Ullrich via Wikipedia
Heroes
Oct 5, 2018 • 26 min
What makes a hero? Image: United States Congress
Elon Musk
Sep 29, 2018 • 22 min
What is up with Elon Musk? Is he OK? How bad for a business is it if the CEO goes off the rails? Image: JD Lasica via Flickr See http://blog.alephinsights.com/ for shownotes more episodes and other interesting things.
Fun
Sep 22, 2018 • 22 min
What is fun? Is organised fun actually fun? Can fun be manufactured? Image: Heather Cowper via Flickr
Media Balance
Sep 14, 2018 • 26 min
What is balance in media? Why is it important? How do we find it? Should we give air time to climate change deniers? Image: Gridge via Wikipedia
Digital Dementia
Sep 7, 2018 • 27 min
Do you suffer from digital alzheimer’s? Are young folk wired differently? Does instant communications on many platforms impact productivity? Image: The People Speak! via Flickr
Gentlemen’s Disagreements
Aug 31, 2018 • 26 min
What are ‘Gentlemen’s agreements’? How binding are they? What happens if they are broken? Why do the hold sometimes, but not others? Image: MachoCarionca via Wikipedia
Flat Earthism
Aug 24, 2018 • 31 min
Flat Earthism, what is that all about? Why do people with strange beliefs bother us so much? Do they really mean it or are they joking? Image: Orlando Ferguson via Wikipedia
Cults
Aug 17, 2018 • 24 min
What makes a cult? What makes a cult different from a religion? Are they damaging or dangerous? Image: Scientology Media via Wikipedia
Nostalgia
Aug 10, 2018 • 25 min
Are the British stuck in the past? Why do we keep going on about old victories and defeats? Do we look back more than other nations? Image: National Media Museum via WIkipedia
Political Capital
Aug 3, 2018 • 25 min
What is political capital? Can you touch it, measure it? How does it work? Image: Number 10 via Wikipedia
Dated Films
Aug 1, 2018 • 24 min
Why do some films age better than others? Image: https://www.starwars.com/news/the-5-most-grueling-star-wars-visual-effects
Schedule vs Schedule
Jul 20, 2018 • 23 min
Which type of english is best? Why do we prefer the sound of some language over others?
Ticket Touting
Jul 13, 2018 • 23 min
Is ticket touting wrong? Why? Is there a better way of deciding ticket pricing? Image: Mattia luigi Nappi via Wikipedia
Football Cheats
Jul 8, 2018 • 26 min
Why is there a culture of cheating in some games and not others? Do some teams cheat more than other? Image: Mahmood Hosseini via Wikipedia
Red Bad
Jun 29, 2018 • 27 min
Colour and meaning: Why do some colours seem to have some inherent meaning? How is it that we have cultural standards for colour to indicate meaning? Image: BagoGames via Flickr
Virtually (Limitless) Reality
Jun 22, 2018 • 25 min
Virtual Reality promises great things. Headline often read along the lines of “VR will make any world possible”. Is this true? Image: Maurizio Pesce via Flickr
Friendly Computers
Jun 15, 2018 • 22 min
Why are computer interfaces always so friendly? Image: Loki, provided by Rhonda Oglesby via Flickr
Language of immigration
Jun 8, 2018 • 24 min
How does use of language affect our attitude to immigration? Image: cytis via pixabay
Democracies versus dictatorships
Jun 1, 2018 • 21 min
In light of the recent summit between North and South Korea, and the on-off bromance between President Trump and Kim Jong-Un, we ask the question whether democracies or dictatorships offer more certainty. Image: Bjørn Christian Tørrissen via Wikipedia
Phew!
May 25, 2018 • 23 min
Future dread and hindsight relief. Why do we experience dread and relief for some events?
What’s in a name?
May 19, 2018 • 25 min
Men who change their surname when they get married are still unusual. Why is it important to some?
Off-pitch referees
May 11, 2018 • 25 min
What’s wrong with off-pitch referees? Do they make the game less beautiful? Do off-pitch refs make better or worse decisions? What effects does devolving decision-making have? Image: KeithJJ via Pixabay
Seagulls
May 4, 2018 • 22 min
Why do we get so worked up about our territory? Where does the sense of what is ours come from? What is ownership anyway? Image: irenne56 via Pixnio
Driving Licences
Apr 28, 2018 • 23 min
Are older drivers less safe than younger drivers? Does just having a licence indicate you are more able to drive? What is the point of certification? Image: ArtsyBee via Pixabay
Optimized Fruit
Apr 20, 2018 • 23 min
What does tastiness tell us about fruit choice? Could we engineer the perfect fruit? Or are we just comparing apples and oranges? Image: Malte Sörensen via Flickr
Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be
Apr 13, 2018 • 25 min
In a world were everything is available on demand, will we miss out on the pleasure of nostalgia? What Is Nostalgia Good For? Quite a Bit, Research Shows…
National Identity
Apr 6, 2018 • 22 min
What are the giveaways that tell you you’re in another country? What is national identity? Image: Jorge Royan via Wikipedia
Gun control and ideological tribalism
Mar 30, 2018 • 30 min
What does the gun control debate tell us about ideology? Do peoples believes cluster into similar groups? If I tell you I’m pro-life, what can you predict about me? Evolution Explains Why Politics Is So Tribal -…
Condiments
Mar 23, 2018 • 20 min
The culture of condiments: Why don’t we find wasabi in fish and chip shops? What do they tell you about national culture? Why salt and pepper and not cumin and nutmeg? Why is ketchup the king of the sauces? What determines the optimal condiment…
Animals music
Mar 16, 2018 • 18 min
Why do some animals like music, even though they don’t make it? Why do we like music? Does it have a purpose? https://www.cornwalllive.com/news/cornwall-news/watch-seal-pups-being-soothed-954976 Image: Howcheng via Wikipedia
Alpha Zero
Mar 9, 2018 • 20 min
What does it mean? Is it a big step or a small one? How could we know?Is Artificial Intelligence becoming a massive anticlimax? Is it inevitable that AI will be better than us? Image: geraldford via Flickr
Universality
Mar 2, 2018 • 20 min
What is the most universal science? What will be true where ever you go? Philosophical reductionism: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/scientific-reduction Image: ESO/M. Kornmesser via Wikipedia
Animal Sentience
Feb 23, 2018 • 18 min
Are animals sentient? How do we measure sentience? What is sentience anyway? Image: http://maxpixel.freegreatpicture.com/Cow-Livestock-Nature-Head-Animal-Cow-Head-1715829
Better off
Feb 16, 2018 • 17 min
Are we better off than we were 10 years ago? What is all the free stuff worth to us? https://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/sep/29/six-million-low-income-families-worse-off-than-10-years-ago https://ourworldindata.org/happiness-and-life-satisfaction/…
Micro transactions
Feb 9, 2018 • 21 min
In game purchases. Why do we hate them? Is the a moral repulsion to buying an advantage justified? Gamer backlash against EA: https://gizmodo.com/congratulations-to-ea-games-for-posting-the-most-hated-1820391000 Relational models theory:…
Multitasking
Feb 4, 2018 • 23 min
Are we as unproductive as we feel with modern technology? Image: Jeremy Keith via Wikipedia
Fake Whisky
Jan 29, 2018 • 19 min
How do you guarantee provenance? Why are evidence trails difficult? Image: Lyntha Scott Eiler via Wikimedia Commons
Violent Entertainment
Jan 14, 2018 • 19 min
Is TV getting more violent?Are we being desensitize to horror and violence? Does something need to be done?
Swimming with Crocodiles
Jan 5, 2018 • 16 min
How dangerous is it to swim with crocodiles? To do so would you be the idiot of the century? Is the notoriety worth it? Image: Magnus Manske via Wikipedia
Social Questions
Dec 30, 2017 • 19 min
Why do we ask questions when we don’t really care about the answer? What information can you glean from polite questions? Wouldn’t it be better if we just asked direct questions? Image: Minnie E. Kenney Paull via Wikipedia
Christmas Presents
Dec 22, 2017 • 19 min
Why is it so hard to choose presents? Image: JD Hancock via Flickr
Princesses
Dec 15, 2017 • 20 min
What makes a princess? Does looking the part make a difference? What does it mean to be the genuine article? Image: Kevin Casper
Not Getting Ripped Off
Dec 8, 2017 • 19 min
How do you not look like a tourist? What stops street sellers badgering locals? What is the role of information in haggling? Image: Wanderlane via Flickr
Parking Meter
Dec 1, 2017 • 20 min
What to parking meters tell us about user interfaces. Why is it so hard to use an unfamiliar keyboard? Why is the numpad on your keyboard the opposite way up than the one on your phone? image: ehendel via pixabay
Haircut
Nov 24, 2017 • 20 min
How do you know when you need a hair cut? How do you monitor gradual change so you know when to act? Photo: Tom Diggers via flickr
Planning
Nov 17, 2017 • 19 min
Is planning always a good idea? Are there cases where it’s best not to plan? Is winging it sometimes the best strategy? Image: https://www.pexels.com/photo/schedule-planning-startup-launching-7376/
Inheritance
Nov 3, 2017 • 17 min
Chris, Nick and Fraser discuss the inheritance and ownership.
Plot Spoilers
Oct 21, 2017 • 22 min
SPOILER ALERT - Chris, Nick and Fraser reveal what they think is so emotionally jarring about spoilers.
Killer Robots
Oct 13, 2017 • 22 min
Chris, Nick and Fraser pass the time in hiding from a T-1000 by discussing automation of weaponry.
Switzerland
Oct 9, 2017 • 20 min
Chris, Nick and Fraser wonder if Switzerland is as boring as people say.
Shoe signals
Sep 22, 2017 • 21 min
Nick, Chris and Fraser discuss whether one can reasonably expect a modern gentleman to own tan colored shoes. What can you tell about a person from their shoes?
Outsourcing Risk
Sep 10, 2017 • 19 min
Chris, Fraser and Peter discuss risk and outsourcing. Is it possible to reduce the risk through outsourcing?
Macaque Selfies
Sep 1, 2017 • 21 min
Peter, Fraser and Nick discuss what macaque selfies tell us about the fundamentals of ownership.
Useful Computer Games
Aug 25, 2017 • 21 min
Fraser, Nick, Peter and Chris discuss computer games and simulations. How are they useful to real life decision makers?
Drugs and Prohibition
Aug 18, 2017 • 23 min
Nick, Fraser, Chris and Peter talk (soberly) about prohibition of harmful substances.
Sibling Rivalry
Aug 13, 2017 • 21 min
Fraser, Chris, Peter and Nick discuss what sibling rivalry. What’s it for?
Late vs Early
Aug 6, 2017 • 27 min
Chris, Peter and Fraser talk about being late and being early. Which is worse?
Naughty Google
Jul 28, 2017 • 21 min
Peter, Fraser and Nick talk about the £2.42bn fine levied against Google by the European Commission for manipulating search results. Are monopolies in the tech world necessarily bad?
Political Schadenfreude
Jul 21, 2017 • 19 min
Chris, Nick and Fraser explore why the humbling of important public figures is particularly satisfying.
Good Decision Bad Outcome
Jul 14, 2017 • 20 min
Was Theresa May right to call the general election? When sound decision making does not necessarily guarantee the outcome you want.
Preserving History
Jul 7, 2017 • 26 min
Peter, Nick and Fraser lament about the amnesia of humanity. How do you communicate with people in the future? How do you makes sure that important things don’t get forgotten?
Online Rating Systems
Jun 30, 2017 • 24 min
How much can we trust online rating systems? What can we infer from them? Peter, Chris and Fraser discuss.
Facebook Censorship
Jun 23, 2017 • 28 min
Following the exposure of Facebook’s content filtering rules, Peter, Chris and Fraser discuss censorship and ethics in data science.
WannaCry and risk perception
Jun 16, 2017 • 24 min
Chris, Fraser and Nick discuss the public perception of WannaCry and what it tells us about how people perceive risk.
Heebie Jeebies
Jun 9, 2017 • 27 min
What are the Heebie Jeebies? What purpose do they serve?
General Election
Jun 2, 2017 • 24 min
Fraser, Nick, Chris and Peter discuss the their certainty in general election results.
Cold vs Hot
May 26, 2017 • 24 min
Nick, Fraser, Chris and Peter discuss whether Cold is worse than Hot.
Stupid Flies, Stupid Humans?
May 21, 2017 • 19 min
Chris, Peter, Nick and Fraser talk about what the seemingly idiotic behavior of flies tells us about the choices that human make.
Unconstrained Hot Tubs
May 12, 2017 • 22 min
Nick, Fraser, Chris and Peter discuss what the removal of constraints means for behaviour.
Mass Surveillance
May 5, 2017 • 28 min
Peter, Fraser, Chris and Nick discuss mass surveillance. Is it a good thing, allowing better analysis or is it a dangerous erosion of privacy.
Trolley Problem
May 1, 2017 • 25 min
Nick, Chris, Fraser and Peter discuss the trolley problem in relation to the terrorist attack in Stockholm.
Lift Buttons
Apr 21, 2017 • 24 min
Do you show your frustration by hammering the lift call button? Peter, Nick and Fraser discuss the urge.
Good Judgement
Apr 10, 2017 • 30 min
Nick, Peter and Fraser speak with special guest Michael Story of Good Judgement Inc about the uptake of good analytical practice.
Blackberry keyboards and UIs
Mar 31, 2017 • 27 min
Fraser, Nick and Peter talk about interfaces. What does the Blackberry keyboard tell us about generalisation and specialisation?
Ernie vs. Bert (1979)
Mar 24, 2017 • 24 min
Peter, Nick and Fraser scrutinize the infamous distribution of pie between Bert and Ernie. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Am1FSGV5wRg
Derek Parfit - Rational Irrationality
Mar 17, 2017 • 26 min
Peter, Fraser and Nick discuss the thought experiments of Derek Parfit.
Peas on Plates
Mar 10, 2017 • 24 min
Chris, Fraser, Peter and Nick explore how social conventions make decisions for us.
Unexplained Mysteries
Mar 3, 2017 • 22 min
Nick, Peter, Chris and Fraser discuss the point at which mysteries become unexplained and when should you stop looking for something lost.
Body Mass Index
Feb 24, 2017 • 24 min
Nick, Chris, Fraser and Peter discuss the purpose of BMI
Computer Interfaces
Feb 20, 2017 • 23 min
Chris, Peter, Fraser and Nick ponder the nature of computer interfaces.
Fake News
Feb 10, 2017 • 25 min
Chris, Peter, Fraser and Nick discuss Fake News. Can we believe a word of it?
False Memories
Feb 3, 2017 • 28 min
Fraser, Nick and Chris consider why we remember things that didn’t happen.
Technical Obsolesence
Jan 28, 2017 • 26 min
Chris, Fraser and Peter discuss the rates of change and life cycles in technology.
Facebook and Insurance
Jan 21, 2017 • 24 min
Chris, Peter and Fraser discuss the insurance industries use of social media data to assess risk in individuals.
Funes the Memorious - Jorge Luis Borges
Jan 13, 2017 • 26 min
Peter, Fraser, Nick speak with special guest Andres about what Funes’s affliction tells us about thinking and perception.
Trump and Hindsight Bias
Jan 6, 2017 • 24 min
Fraser, Nick and Peter experiment with their own biases, by comparing their pre-US election forecasts with their post-event beliefs.
Automation, AI & Work
Dec 31, 2016 • 24 min
What will automation and artificial intelligence mean for the future world of work?
Elections: What do they tell you?
Dec 16, 2016 • 24 min
Nick, Peter and Fraser disucss how much you can read into an election result.
Star Wars and Technology
Dec 9, 2016 • 27 min
Chris, Fraser, Nick and Peter talk about the technology of the Star Wars galaxy. Can you really have all that hardware but so little software? Why didn’t R2D2 just commit the Death Star plans to Github? And what’s the point of science fiction?
Currency Denominations
Dec 2, 2016 • 27 min
Nick, Peter and Fraser discuss why you never see £50 notes but get lots of €50 notes.
Pseudo Science
Nov 26, 2016 • 24 min
Chris, Nick and Fraser discuss why pseudo science crops up in some areas of life but others.
No Man’s Sky - Death of Marketing?
Nov 18, 2016 • 26 min
Nick, Peter and Fraser look at the controversy surrounding ‘No Man’s Sky’, and ask if the information revolution has killed marketing.
Why don’t the trains run on time?
Nov 11, 2016 • 22 min
Chris, Peter and Fraser discuss the decisions that create problems in public services.
Entertainment And Data
Nov 4, 2016 • 23 min
Fraser, Peter and Chris discuss how data is making entertainment even more entertaining
Great British Bake off and Intellectual Property
Oct 28, 2016 • 21 min
Nick, Peter and Fraser discuss what the Great British Bake off tells us about intellectual property.
Remember your passport: Why are things hard to remember?
Oct 21, 2016 • 18 min
Nick, Peter and Fraser discuss why it is hard to remember some important things, but easy to remember others.
Changing lanes
Oct 14, 2016 • 18 min
Nick, Peter and Fraser discuss whether lane changing gets you anywhere.
Shop front signalling
Oct 8, 2016 • 21 min
Nick, Peter and Fraser talk about what the presentation of shop fronts tells up about signalling and quality.
Fraud Detection and Machine Learning
Sep 30, 2016 • 29 min
Fraser, Peter, and Nick discuss how machine learning can be used to fight online fraudsters, with special guest Mairtin O’Riada, CIO of Ravelin.
The value of games
Sep 23, 2016 • 22 min
Nick, Peter and Fraser discuss the value of playing games and whether they can help you learn.
Investing in Yahoo: Spotting Potential
Sep 16, 2016 • 21 min
Nick, Peter and Fraser discuss why it is so hard to spot future potential in ideas.
How long should a podcast be?
Sep 9, 2016 • 25 min
Nick, Peter and Fraser ponder the length of podcasts and what that tells us about the size of an idea.
Sunspring
Sep 2, 2016 • 20 min
Peter, Nick and Fraser discuss the film Sunspring, written by an artificial intelligence. Is it a novelty or a sign of things to come?
Olympics and Marginal Gains
Aug 26, 2016 • 21 min
Nick, Peter and Fraser discuss what the Olympics show us about the the human pursuit to reach for the limits of performance.
The Chilcot Inquiry
Aug 19, 2016 • 24 min
Nick, Peter and Fraser discuss mechanisms of government decision making in the wake of the Chilcot Report. http://www.iraqinquiry.org.uk
Ad Blocking
Aug 13, 2016 • 17 min
Nick, Peter and Fraser discuss ad blocking and what it can tell us about messaging.
Summer Classification
Aug 5, 2016 • 19 min
Peter, Nick and Fraser discuss what summer is, and how we know when it’s started.
Terrorism Prediction with Big Data
Jul 29, 2016 • 21 min
Fraser, Nick and Peter consider the use of Big Data for prediction of terrorist attacks. New online ecology of adversarial aggregates: ISIS and beyond: http://science.sciencemag.org/content/352/6292/1459
Referendum Part 2
Jul 23, 2016 • 18 min
Fraser, Nick and Peter wonder if they have had enough of experts.
Referendum Part 1
Jul 15, 2016 • 19 min
In the wake of the Brexit vote, Peter, Nick and Fraser discuss what referendums can tell us, and what technology means for democracy.
Return to the Library Of Babel
Jul 9, 2016 • 15 min
Nick, Peter and Fraser return to the Library of Babel and discuss how to go about building one.
Averages
Jul 1, 2016 • 19 min
Peter, Nick and Fraser discuss what the point of averages is, and whether we will need them any more in a world of machine analysis.
Leicester City
Jun 25, 2016 • 18 min
Nick, Peter and Fraser discuss why Leicester City winning the Premier League was perhaps not all that surprising.
Irrationality
Jun 18, 2016 • 22 min
Nick, Peter and Fraser make some irrational assertions about decision-making.
Borges Library Of Babel
Jun 10, 2016 • 19 min
Peter, Nick, Fraser and special guest Andres get lost in the vastness of Jorge Luis Borges’s Library of Babel and discuss what it tells us about probability, information, language and meaning.
Karate Kid
Jun 3, 2016 • 17 min
Peter, Nick and Fraser discuss the the hit 1980s movie, The Karate Kid, and what it suggests about learning and skills development.
Hamburgers
May 27, 2016 • 16 min
Peter, Fraser and Nick discuss the threat posed by rare hamburgers, and ways of assessing risk in the absence of data.
Celebrity Death Wave
May 20, 2016 • 15 min
Peter, Nick and Fraser discuss the 2016 spike in celebrity deaths, how the scientific method applies to analysing it, and some of the fundamental constraints of fame.
Cruftsgate
May 16, 2016 • 17 min
Nick, Peter and Fraser discuss what Cuftsgate tells us about classification and categorisation.
Cosmopolitanism
May 6, 2016 • 15 min
Nick, Peter and Fraser discuss what cosmopolitanism is, and how it affects our beliefs about the world.
Trump and Uncertainty
Apr 29, 2016 • 14 min
The rise of Donald Trump prompts Nick, Peter and Fraser to discuss the limits of forecasting behaviour.
AlphaGo
Apr 21, 2016 • 16 min
Nick, Peter and Fraser discuss what AlphaGo’s triumph over Lee Sedol might mean for analysis and decision making.